How can people often with no experience climb Mont Blanc in only six days? It’s totally achievable if you are fit enough, but six days is only a minimum amount of time to acclimatise for Mont Blanc so you’ll still need as many other factors in your favour as possible. Our ascent program is the result of 15 years and 3500+ clients on Mont Blanc, we’ve climbed this mountain every which way over the years and have now settled on what we think is the best possible Mont Blanc ascent program.
Booking the various huts on Mont Blanc is extremely competitive which means that the program for the week will not always be the same; we use different combinations of huts and even sometimes partially different routes to get to the summit, but you will always have two nights and therefore two possible summit days reserved for you (see Huts and Routes). You will however need to follow our Fitness Guidelines carefully in order to be able to comfortably summit via any route, even in marginal conditions.
And if despite every effort conditions are so bad it’s not even worth trying Mont Blanc? We’ll go pretty much anywhere in the alps to fill your week with exciting mountaineering (no extra cost, see this FAQ). Click on the diagram below to see the basic program for each day:
(This will most likely be your summit day unless the weather imposes a last day ascent; please see Huts and Routes)
Assuming you’re not on a last day ascent, this is the big day – this is where you find out if all that training you did is going to be enough. We would not have brought you this far if we didn’t think you had a good chance of making it, so control your anxiety, get your head down and take it one step at a time; forget about the summit and just focus on the next section in front of you. If you’re starting from Tete Rousse the view is very impressive and not in a good way; give it a try though and you’ll be surprised to find it’s not nearly as bad as it looks, and it ‘s about 2 hours of tough scrambling across the Grand Couloir and up to the Gouter.
From the Gouter hut it’s on average (a very tough) four and a half hours to the summit; less than 4 hours Gouter to summit is quick, maximum realistic time is five and a half hours, with about 2 hours back down to Gouter .
Effort wise, starting from Gonella is about the same as starting from Tete Rousse with maybe about half an hour extra effort required to reach the summit; the main difference is in the residual fatigue you’ll be feeling from the longer approach to the hut the day before, but there’s no technical scrambling section and you’re only descending to Gouter which is pretty quick.
All of our teams are equipped with professional radios linked to the mountain professionals only relay network so we can immediately contact the rescue services from anywhere on the mountain. Teams are also in contact with each other throughout on our own frequency so we can help each other out if necessary, as well as being able to talk to our chalet base camp. Though each team works independently, talking to each other means we can usually sort out problems so that if anyone needs to turn back his rope mate can continue (we make temporary ropes of 3: 1).
Going back down is much quicker of course, but you need to make a conscious effort to stay focused – now is not the time to catch your crampon spikes in your trousers. 2 hours gets us back to a tea break at the Gouter hut, and another two hours of scrambling after that gets us to Tete Rousse if we’re descending to here. A last day ascent would mean another 90 minutes on top of this to get all the way down to the train.
MBG teams on the Bosses section common to both Gouter and Gonella routes.
Mont Blanc's airy summit ridge.
An Early MBG Team Summitting Mont Blanc in 2005.